Agabus Pwanagba: Nigeria, a nation lacking political ideology

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Nigeria’s democratic history cannot be found less interesting when placed side by side with those of the partisan nations of Britain, the United States, France, etc. determinants of identity and identification.

A macroscopic look at the democratic experience before, during and after the colonial era in the nation-state of Nigeria speaks volumes about the issues that were raised to constitute a unity of identity and a rallying point; ethnicity, regionalism and, most dominantly, monetary policy which took precedence over all other forms of definition.

In the first republic for example, there was a glaring prospect of building ideological towers in accordance with the Pan-African spirit which was in fact the driving force behind the agitations for political independence from British authority symbolized by the great present. British technocrats and the Union Jack, but soon after regional sentiment seeped onto the pitch and we had the formation of political parties and supporters mostly in line with regional interests, the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroon (NCNC) holding the preponderance in most regions of the south and not the north.

With the almost seamless progression towards the Second Republic, we have seen more regionalized political parties with the AG (Action Group) strongly in the southwest, the Northern People Congress (NPC) in the north, etc. and this later became the doctrine of the Nigerian body political parties until the current dispensation, where political parties are tropicalized.

The ideological frameworks that should bring down these primordial barriers have long been in limbo or better yet non-existent.

Undoubtedly, the controversial zoning formula for the rotating presidency is an exclusive product of regional consciousness which trumps Nigerianness.

Essentially, it is the continuation of regional rivalry that prevailed during regional governments under prime ministers. It was the looper that some military administrations, especially those of General Yakubu Gowon and Murtala Mohammed, attempted to abolish with the creation of states to replace the regional authorities, which officially had Sir Ahmadu Bello overseeing the North, the Chief Obafemi Awolowo for the West and Chief Michael Okpara. for the East.

However, with the return of democratic structures in 1999, the stage was set again with the adoption of zoning in certain political parties, particularly for the President’s seat, many of whom said had been ceded to the South-West in compensation. , but before the so-called “gentle man arrangement” started it had failed miserably too, especially with the interference of certain interests.

As a result, after 18 years, we still falter in a problem which is a construction of the few.

A Nigerian state devoid of an ideological framework with an almost equally fertile national perspective is responsible for the evils of corruption that plague the nation as ethnicity is trained to scuttle the guilt.

The issue of the zoning of political offices in the country is undoubtedly a glaring symptom of the lack of ideology, where the region of origin has been prioritized over governance agendas, where the faith of an office researcher is to overriding importance rather than the merits inherent in it.

A Nigeria built on ideological considerations has a tendency to collapse the primary consideration of faith, regionalism and ethnicity. It tends to bring people from different regions together in unison based on the views of the problems they share and the community of the evils they seek to address.

Political parties built on ideological foundations could be that penance that has eluded the Nigerian nation for decades.

For example, the late progressive scholar, Dr Bala Usman postulated that the Northern Element Progressive Union (NEPU) led by then-sage Alhaji Aminu Kano enjoyed national appeal even though it failed to capture some southern states because of its welfarist ideology based on the cliché of the talakawa (proletariat), the strength of this ideology lies in the careful analysis of the economic fate of more than 60% of Nigerians who at the time were below the UN poverty line of $ 1 per day.

His party was widely accepted because it was built on masses – friendly postulations which, in this case, were devoid of regional considerations because all regions and all beliefs have the class of the proletariat.

We have witnessed relentless defections from one political party to another by political office holders and appointees, mostly from parties that value the one in power without resorting to certain fundamental principles. which include the vacancy of occupied seats. In most cases, such crossed carpets are excused for internal party feuds, thus weakening the opposition and all of its advantages.

These actions described by many experts are a negation of the principle of honor which encourages honorable people to identify with a course in which they truly believe and to work diligently to promote it in all significant courses rather than boycotting it at the same time. middle of nowhere.

In Nigeria, state governors, senators and representatives of national assemblies, presidents of local governments and even councilors have embarked on all manner of permutations, mainly with the ruling parties to defect them against the ideology in which they once believed and for which the electorate also voted. them.

And because of the mad rush for pasture and the spoils of ruling party membership, the beauty of the opposition has been slaughtered on the altar of greed and the result is the gradual drift towards the state of single party, which is definitely absurd for our kind of climate.

For more than a month now, a country called Nigeria has been inundated with defections as politicians continue to fight to be relevant and to make strategic investments within and across party lines.

Defections have been fairly osmotic, with solvent political gladiators shifting more from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

It should be remembered that similar movements were seen in 2014, ahead of the 2015 elections, as angry and displaced politicians moved from the ruling PDP to the then CPA.

There will always be defections, perhaps not on the scale seen before the polls of 2015 and this year, but defections will likely continue to be anchored on extraneous and sometimes fragile reasons rather than on solid and ideological factors. .

As long as poverty persists and overwhelms, and the country’s political and economic structures are not radically reformed and transformed, attitudes towards civil service and politics will remain fundamentally narrow and predatory.

Politicians will therefore subordinate the more ennobling task of public service to the degrading and amoral pursuit of greener pastures.

It was important for the ruling party and President Muhammadu Buhari to properly assess the state of mind of the country and examine the factors that predispose Nigerian politics to the constant display of amorality seen over the past month and into early 2014. .

Unfortunately, the APC has been slanderous in its dismissal of defectors, and the president himself has adopted great moralizations, even viewing defections as God’s secateurs to cleanse and sanctify the ruling party.

It is not clear that they accurately described a process that has become, to many, incredibly familiar, as defections, while sometimes and even often reprehensible, are not a moral issue.

Judging by the scale of the defections, they actually point to deep cracks in politics and the glaring mismatch between the aspirations of the electorate and the ambitions of its representatives.

The lessons of the wave of defections is that politics in Nigeria is currently seen as an industry given the harsh economic realities that are troubling the nation.

A quick review of how democracies work in advanced countries will reveal that party memberships are caused by clear manifestos, constructed from an ideology, for example, the two political parties satisfied with the United States of America do not benefit of a blind follower; Democrats and Republicans have succeeded in creating manifestos that conform to the peculiarities inherent in American society as a result, voting campaigns are based on issues rather than propaganda, campaigns are designed around the core issues of the region. origin of the aspirant rather than the urgency.

Before the presidential election of November 16, 2016, which brought Donald Trump to power; he had faced serious criticism from his fellow Republican, because of some of his campaign problems, but they never defected, all because of their ideological belief in the party, unfortunately this did not happen. This is not the case in Nigeria.

Instead of engaging the PDP in a war of words, the ruling CPA must redouble its efforts to deconstruct the phenomenon of defection in the context of Nigerian politics.

The party must avoid its simplistic understanding of the crisis; and in particular the president who exerts a disproportionate influence on the party, to take a healthier, more sensible and balanced approach to reorienting the Nigerian policy.

At the height of election campaigns in 2014, the ruling APC administration anchored its presidential election on the fight against corruption, poverty, insecurity and unemployment. Have they been able to keep those promises?

It is truly tragic that the APC, feeling that they cannot play the sublime politics demonstrated by their manifesto, seems to be following the same thorny path that ultimately condemned their predecessor the PDP in 2015.

Therefore, a nation without political ideologies drawn from the desirable core values ​​of the people is rather a disaster.


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